As we were pounding through the vortex, an old man sat on a bench in Arakawa Nature park, over in Tokyo. The man was a little battle weary, with wavy hair, a well-defined muscle structure, and wore motorcycle gear. He looked at the young’uns playing and gave a small, sad smile. “The days of youth,” said a voice. The man turned to see another man about his age. He had lost his hair and wore similar gear to the man on the bench. A warm smile spread across his face.
“Haven’t seen you in a while, Ichimonji,” he mused.
“Like you, I’ve been busy fighting Shocker around the world,” explained Ichimonji. “I just came back for the nostalgia, much like you, I’m guessing. How are you doing, Hongo?”
“I’ve been well,” replied Hongo. “About a year ago, Shocker was in a civil war with a branch called Shocker Nova. Unlike the one we’re familiar with, these people wanted to take control of the economies of the planet. Much more sinister than simply subjugating the people.”
“And you fought them off by yourself?” asked Ichimonji.
“No, I met with the new Rider at the time,” explained Hongo. “This one was interesting. He had died when he wasn’t supposed to, so he set out on a quest to find these things called Eyecons, which hold the spirits of famous people, like Musashi, Robin Hood, and Edison. He had to collect all 15 within 99 days or he would cease to exist. From what I heard, he succeeded.”
“A ghost as a Rider?” quizzed Ichimonji. “That’s a new one.”
“Well, the Heisei generation can be a little strange,” mused Hongo.
“Still, it’s nice to see the fight against evil goes on,” replied Ichimonji.
“Yes, the planet is in good…” it was then that Hongo saw the portal. “What in the…? Ichimonji, look out!” said Hongo as he tackled Ichimonji to the ground. That was when we flew out of the portal, over the bench, and landed right in front of the two men.
“That was a rush!” announced Emily.
“Everybody okay?” I asked. They all confirmed their status as we dismounted. “Good. Now then, where are we?”
“You’re in Arakawa Nature Park,” explained Hongo as we turned to the speaker. The instant he clapped eyes on the two men, a look of pleasant surprise and fanboying popped onto Hiroki’s face.
“They’re real!” he muttered. “I don’t believe it! They’re real!”
“Who are they?” asked Sheela.
“THE FIRST KAMEN RIDERS!” shouted Hiroki happily.
“What now?” quizzed Richard.
“Kamen Rider is an iconic franchise alongside Godzilla and Ultraman,” explained Hiroki. “The whole thing is based around a masked motorcycle rider fighting evil organizations.”
“After the earthquake in 2011, the statue of the very first Kamen Rider was discovered still standing, giving courage and hope to the victims.” I supplied. “Even one who has basic knowledge, like me, can’t deny the impact Kamen Rider has left us.”
“And Ichimonji’s coming with me,” called a voice. That’s when an electrical bolt shot Ichimonji and made him freeze up. We looked in shock to see Hiro with a smoking pistol in his right hand. My lips curled into a snarl and Hongo noticed this.
“Do you know him?” he asked.
“That man had abandoned me and tried to reclaim me when I was adopted by a more loving mother,” I explained. “This was after he murdered his wife, my birth mother!” Hongo gave a dirty look at Hiro.
“I’m guessing, because of that, you no longer acknowledge him as your father,” guessed Hongo.
“That’s right!” I snarled.
“How dare you, sir!” hissed Hongo to Hiro. “She was a gift to make your life joyful and you ruined her life! I shall not forgive those as evil as you!”
“Evil?!” snapped Hiro. “No! I don’t accept that! I needed a super soldier! One who could communicate with their bestial side! It was for the good of Japan!”
“The good of Japan?!” roared Hiroki as Hiro rambled. “You animal! You almost got her killed! It was lucky that my mother adopted her when she did! You’re an evil man that has descended into nothing more than an animal and shall be put down as such!”
“You are welcome to try!” boasted Hiro as he loaded a red semi-circle into both guns.
“Oh, this is gonna be good!” giggled the Rogue driver as both semi-circles joined together inside the red circle, with the split going from top to bottom. Hiro then pointed his guns at us. “Reach for the skies!” said the driver.
“Henshin!” announced Hiro as he pulled the triggers. A red circle appeared in front of us with an image of armor going sideways. Hiro ran towards it and jumped into it, twisting sideways, and landed on both feet in the armor. It looked like a black, full bodysuit with blackish gray armor on the arms, chest, and legs, and a black trench coat. His helmet had red compound eyes, a pair of short antennae, and a black, wide brimmed hat. The eyes had a pupil and the lights making it glow altered to show the emotion he had underneath.
“Meg,” gulped Xiomara, “your birth father, did he just…?”
“He did,” I said, “Hiroki, is that…?”
“It is!” confirmed Hiroki.
“I am Kamen Rider Rogue,” announced Hiro. “Stand and deliver!”
“You disgrace the name of Kamen Riders everywhere!” hissed Hongo. “I shall teach you what a Rider truly is.” He pulled his jacket back to reveal a belt with a white strap and a silvery metal shield covering something around the buckle area. The shield had a symbol on it with the front of a motorcycle, almost insect like, over a red R. After he revealed the belt, He put his left fist to his hip and thrust his right hand across his front in a diagonal fashion and slowly rotated it to his right side. As he was doing this, the shield split to reveal a red fan that turned with the wind. “Rider…HENSHIN!” He then pulled his right hand into a fist and put it to his hip and thrust his left arm across his front. He then leapt into the air at an impressive height for anyone, even men his age! As he landed, the wind had kicked up so much debris that I couldn’t see his suit form. When it cleared, there he stood. He wore a green mask with red compound eyes, a pair of antennae, a lighter green face shield that looked a lot like an insect’s mandibles, armor all over him with the chest, gloves, and boots being colored in green. He also wore a red scarf with both ends on the left side. My brother was about to squee.
“I thought his outfit was slimmer than that,” I pondered aloud.
“There was a movie with him and Kamen Rider Ghost,” explained Hiroki with a big fat grin. “He had upgrades done before the events of that movie!”
“Okay, that makes sense,” I muttered. A thought then entered my head. “Er, driver…”
+WHAT IS YOUR QUERY?+ quizzed my belt.
“Do you have similar transformation functions?” I asked.
+ALL VORTEX DRIVERS ARE BUILT WITH TRANSFORMATION IN MIND+ replied my belt. “SIMPLY INSERT THE IDENTIFICATION TAG INTO THE SLOT ON TOP+ +ENCOUNTERING MORE PEOPLE WILL ALLOW YOU TO GAIN THEIR IDENTIFICATION TAGS AND ABILITIES+ +SIMPLY PRESS THE RED BUTTON ON YOUR RIGHT TO SWAP OUT YOUR IDENTIFICATION TAG AND INSERT A NEW ONE TO GAIN ARMOR BASED ON THEIR IMAGE+
“So, you’re saying we all have a Henshin sequence like Hiro?” I asked.
+CORRECT+ confirmed my belt. I grinned.
“Hongo-san,” I pleaded, “please, let me fight with you. Kamen Rider Rogue is my enemy too.”
“As you wish,” replied Kamen Rider Ichigō. (The first)
“Thank you,” I thanked. I then took out the blue disk I got when this adventure started and held it in my right fist. My left fist went to my waist and my right fist came across my front to my left shoulder.
“Meg!” called Richard. “What are you doing?!”
“Not without us!” declared Hiroki.
“I was wondering when you guys would speak up,” I mused. “Form up and strike a pose, lords and ladies.”
“Oh, for the love of…I don’t have time for this!” snarled Rogue as he charged towards Ichimonji. Ichigō then threw a punch and started pushing him back.
“You kids get into your suits!” he called. “I’ll hold him off for as long as I can!”
“Thank you, Hongo-san!” thanked Hiroki. The line soon went from Joshua with his right fist holding his i.d tag above his head and his left hand splayed in front of his belt, Sheela with both hands in the air over her right shoulder with the i.d tag in between her right ring finger and pinky, Tonje with her right fist holding the i.d tag on her forehead and her left fist at her belt buckle, Tanisha with her right pointer finger and thumb holding the i.d tag and her left hand behind it, Livia with her right hand holding the i.d tag on her left shoulder and her left hand holding the other shoulder, Irina crossing her arms in front of her with the i.d tag in, you guessed, her right fist, Mikhail simply putting his left arm under his right arm, Hiroki holding an invisible katana, myself keeping the same pose before Rogue tried to interfere, Richard holding his right arm like a sword, Emily in a fencing ready position with an invisible foil, Haitao putting his right hand into his left palm, Emmanuel throwing his left arm out in front while his right hand with the i.d tag went into the air as he turned to face his right, Lukas throwing his right fist in front while his left hand held the elbow, Xiomara with her left hand holding part of her dress and her right arm straight across her belly, and Michael holding his right arm straight from the side and his left hand about to draw an imaginary sword.
“Henshin on three,” I declared. “Ichi! Ni! SAN!”
“HENSHIN!” we all shouted as we slid our i.d tags into the slots on top of the belts. Rogue stopped fighting Ichigō to look at us. Ichigō stopped as well to get a look. A blue circle appeared in front of each of us with silhouettes of armor for us. Us dress wearers had to hitch up our skirts as we all ran towards the circles and jumped through. When we came out, we were in armor with a black undersuit and light blue plating. Joshua’s motif made him look like a hunter. Sheela looked like an Indian soldier in old armor. Tonje had the Viking thing going, without the horns on her helmet. Tanisha had a pre-colonial look to her armor. Livia’s armor was styled around Gothic Plate armor. Irina’s armor covered every square inch of body that showed the black undersuit. Mikhail looked like one of the Cossacks. Hiroki was styled after a samurai. I was in armor that had a crown affixed to my helmet and a purple cape. Richard took the classic medieval armor look, complete with feather on top. Emily was in metal fencing gear. Haitao took the look of an old Chinese soldier. Emmanuel looked like a French archer. Lukas looked like an old German knight. Xiomara looked like a conquistador. Michael looked like a medieval English soldier. Our weapons looked more futuristic. Our compound eyes were blue and, like Hiro, had pupils and could show our emotions. We all approved.
“Everyone,” I ordered, “introduce yourselves! Make sure you have a good name and catchphrase!” I’ve seen enough Kamen Rider to know how it’s supposed to go.
“Kamen Rider Outback!” began Joshua. “Better watch your back, mate!”
“Kamen Rider Claw,” announced Sheela as she closed her fists to extend her new Bagh Naka. “My weapons shall turn you into ribbons!”
“Kamen Rider Swing!” declared Tonje. “I’ll be taking your legs!”
“Kamen Rider Hunt!” called Tanisha. “I shall always get my prey!”
“Kamen Rider Clash!” announced Livia. “A duel with me shall end in your defeat!”
“Kamen Rider Climb!” called Irina. “Mountains are a warrior’s best friend!”
“Kamen Rider Gallop!” declared Mikhail. “My riding skills are unmatched!”
“Kamen Rider Sengoku!” called Hiroki. “You shall get a taste of Feudal Japan!”
“Kamen Rider Royal!” I declared. “Evil will ultimately bow to me!”
“Kamen Rider Guard!” announced Richard. “None shall harm my friends, family, and lady!”
“Kamen Rider Touché!” declared Emily. “En Garde, thing of evil!”
“Kamen Rider Zhànshì,” called Haitao. “Try and stop my quest!”
“Kamen Rider Arch!” declared Emmanuel. “My skills outdo Robin Hood!” Michael looked towards Emmanuel at that.
“Kamen Rider Kämpfer!” announced Lukas. “Your defeat will be certain at my hands!”
“Kamen Rider Seeker!” called Xiomara. “It’s not gold I seek, but your end!”
“Kamen Rider Battle!” announced Michael after he shook off Emmanuel’s comment. “For friends and family, I shall be victorious!”
“You face 17 people, Hiro!” I called. “Give up now, and this goes no further!” Rogue looked all around, then bent down slightly. Given the tremble in his body, I thought he was crying. I was wrong. He then bent over backwards giving an insanely loud laugh.
“You morons!” he laughed. “What was your objective?!” I was puzzled by the question.
“What do you mean?” I asked. “Our objective is to beat you.”
“Really?” he countered. “Nothing to do with Kamen Rider Nigō?” (The Second)
“Well,” said Hiroki as he turned around, “given that…er…where’s Ichimonji?!”
“What?!” I quizzed. All riders aside from Rogue started looking for Ichimonji.
“The instant you lot started doing your roll call,” explained Rogue, “a portal opened up and sucked up the paralyzed Ichimonji! No doubt he’s on Foundation Prime!” Another portal opened behind him. “And there’s my ride!”
“You’re not going anywhere!” I shouted as I charged him. My futuristic rapier slashed across his back. He turned around and delivered a punch which I blocked. I threw a punch which he blocked. And so, the process continued, blow after blow blocked until he pulled one of his guns on me and fired. I staggered backwards as he leapt into the air.
“Rider Rogue Kick,” he said as he flew down with his left foot outstretched and a nasty red aura surrounding him I tried to get out of the way but stumbled over my cape. That’s when Ichigō threw himself between us and took the hit. It canceled his transformation as Rogue landed and disappeared into the portal. Hongo boarded his bike that was nearby and sped into the portal after Hiro.
“Hongo-san, WAIT!” called Hiroki. Our transformations cancelled as our horses trotted towards us to let us on. We entered the portal ourselves to get Hongo to see sense.